The UB Post
The process for claiming rightful ownership of land needs to be eased
Parliament amended the Law on Allocation of Land to Citizens of Mongolia for Ownership in 2008, enabling Mongolians to equally own land within the territory of Mongolia free of charge. Accordingly, regardless of age, local citizens can own 0.07 hectares of land in Ulaanbaatar, 0.35 hectares in provinces, and 0.5 hectares in soums. However, lack of information, heavy bureaucracy and long list of required documents are making it almost impossible to take ownership of the land that was promised to the public.
Only 202,148 city residents had taken ownership of 10,752.1 hectares of land as of April 2021. In other words, just about 13 percent of the city population, or 6 percent of the national population, has managed to claim their land since the adoption of the revised law in 2008.
Mongolian citizens can also buy specific land for agricultural purposes. The law, enabling citizens to get sizeable land once free of charge, had expired in May 2019, but the government decided to extend it by another 10 years in November 2019. Since its adoption in May 2003, the law has been extended seven times.
The law defines land ownership as “legitimate control of land with the right to dispose of that land”. To take “legitimate control” of a piece of land, locals must first determine the location and size of the land and submit a proposal to the land’s affiliated district or provincial land authority. The Ulaanbaatar Land Management Department and Agency of Land Administration and Management, Geodesy and Cartography have launched a number of websites, including egazar.gov.mn mle.mn, to provide timely update on available land for ownership and possession, and relevant information. However, the whole process from choosing land for ownership seems to be a challenge for the general public, not to mention extremely time-consuming.
As mentioned before, the first step to owning land is to submit a proposal or request detailing personal information of all family members, current address, the intended use of land, and its size and location. Along with the proposal, five documents must be attached.
1. Notarized copy of birth certificate of any family member under the age of 16 2. Reference from bag and khoroo mayors on family status
3. If the land is possessed in accordance with the Law on Land, a notarized copy of the land possession certificate and land possession agreement
4. Cadastral map of the requested land, outlining location and sign. (Cadastral map must be developed by a licensed organization)
5. Notarized copy of national ID
Once the proposal has been submitted, the affiliated land authority will review it within three days and if there aren’t any issues, transfer it to the senior land specialist who will then submit it for approval to the mayor. After checking the documents again, a certificate is granted. The person will need to register their certificate at the State Registry of Rights to Immovable Property to formally acquire possession of the land. This process also requires more documents, including a copy of the land ownership decree and Land inspection certificate.
As you can see, even the summary of the process is long and tedious. Anyone who wishes to own land will need to be prepared to run around city authorities for several days at least. Moreover, each stage comes with a fee. For example, getting documents notarized can cost 100 MNT to 5,000 MNT each depending on the type of document, verification of land ownership costs 2,500 MNT (double if needed urgently), and the land ownership certificate costs 5,000 MNT.
It’s no secret that most give up halfway through as they can’t spare so much time or unaccounted costs. As a result, Mongolia is unable to distribute land fairly and equally as it originally intended with the adoption of the Law on Allocation of Land to Citizens of Mongolia for Ownership. The high bureaucracy, lack of information and overwhelming process is also one of the reasons the law has been extended so many times without achieving significant result. Poor land management and administration could pose risks of corruption and inequality. Mongolia can benefit more by simplifying the land ownership and possession process, increasing control on abuse of authority by the staff of land management administration at all levels, and avoiding frequent changes in legislation related to land.
On the other hand, people tend to wait until the last minute to do things. For example, a growing number of people applied for land ownership whenever the law neared its expiration. In haste, they tend to obtain whichever land they can, oftentimes getting it in locations that isolated, hard to reach or inconvenient for them. To avoid this mistake, they are advised to thoroughly study beforehand, look into different locations, and assemble necessary documents in advance. Land management authorities are continuing to upgrade and renew their online systems and this might be good start to their journey.
‘46,000 CITY RESIDENTS HAVE EXERCISED THEIR RIGHT TO OWN LAND IN ULAANBAATAR’
E.Usukhjargal, a senior legal specialists at the Ulaanbaatar Land Management Department, spoke about land ownership in the following interview. Ulaanbaatar accommodates more than a half of Mongolia’s population, but just around 200,000 residents have exercised their land ownership right. Many are interested in owning land. Is any land available for ownership in the capital?
The land reserve planned for allocation to citizens by the Ulaanbaatar Land Management Department has exhausted but through re-planning, new locations for allocation will be determined. This work will be carried out in line with the Ulaanbaatar General Land Management Plan, Amendment to the Ulaanbaatar General Development Plan through 2020, Government Action Plan, Ulaanbaatar Development Guidelines 20212025, and the Ulaanbaatar Mayor’s Action Plan 2020-2023. According to these policy documents, land cannot be allocated to citizens outside the boundary planned residential areas.
This year, new Ulaanbaatar General Land Management Plan and Ulaanbaatar Development Plan through 2040 will be developed. Once these plans are approved and the boundaries of the settlements are clear, it will be possible to identify new locations for land ownership and possession.
Does that mean land will be distributed in the outskirts of the capital?
There is a speculation that land will be approved for ownership in new, sparsely populated areas as the city authorities are upholding a policy not to expand the city’s settlement boundary. In general, we’re working to first draw out a detailed plan for the areas to be distributed to the public and develop necessary infrastructure before allocation.
Can a city resident claim land in rural area?
Yes. According to the Law on Allocation of Land to Citizens of Mongolia for Ownership, citizens can own land for household or agricultural purposes. If a city resident wishes to own land outside the capital, they need to contact the Ulaanbaatar Land Management Department and obtain a letter of revocation of land ownership. Then, they’ll be eligible to own land in rural areas. Presently, 46,000 city residents have exercised their right to own land in Ulaanbaatar. People can get larger piece of land outside the capital and the locations are more flexible.
There were complaints that province and soum authorities were giving preferential rights to locals, not allowing city residents to obtain land within their territory. Is this allowed?
The land management departments of provinces and soums can’t respond in such a manner. They’re obligated to review proposals and process them in accordance with the law.
The Agency of Land Administration and Management, Geodesy and Cartography is operating egazar.gov.mn website to provide specific plans and locations for land possession and ownership in provinces, soums, the capital and districts. It has all the information you need to know about available locations and how they are distributed.
The only plausible explanation for denying a request is that the proposed land is not approved for allocation. In this case, you can choose a different location. If two people request the same land, it will be allocated to the person who submitted their request first.
If a person has claimed a land but wishes to buy another, what should they do?
People can get information on land auctions via mle.mn website. Lands are put up for auction after being approved by the capital city and district council, and included in relevant plans. People can access this site, get information about the land they own and use, and participate in the auction. They can own and possess any number of land through an action provided that they pay the bidding price.
The land use right is given to citizens of Mongolia, Mongolian business entities, organizations, foreign citizens and stateless persons permanently residing in Mongolia, foreign legal entities, foreign diplomatic missions, consulates and representative office of international organizations.
How are lands up for auction determined?
We include the location of the land to be auctioned in the next year’s land management plan based on the proposals of citizens and businesses, and approve it at the end of each year through a resolution by the capital city and district council. Land auctions have been organized since 2005. Starting this year, we’re planning to study the soil of each piece of land to offer detailed information, such as whether it can be used for farming and agricultural production.